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Ensaimada Bread | The Little Epicurean

Ensaimada Especial

Ensaimada is a Filipino brioche bread filled with a sugary whipped butter and topped with salty, aged cheese. This bread is typically served for breakfast or afternoon snack. 
Yield: 24 rolls
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Resting Time: 2 hrs
Total Time: 2 hrs 55 mins
Author: Maryanne Cabrera


First Dough:

  • 2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup warm water, about 110 degrees F
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk, warmed to 105-110 degrees F

Second Addition:

  • 4 large egg yolks, room temp
  • 1 large egg, room temp
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Third Addition:

  • 4 large egg yolks, room temp
  • 1 large egg, room temp
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, softened
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Filling and Topping:

  • 1 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/3 cup grated Edam cheese


First Dough:

  • In a large bowl, whisk together yeast, sugar and warm water.  Let sit for about 5-8 minutes until mixture is bubbly.
  • Add flour and evaporated milk. Mix until combined. Mixture will be a bit watery. Cover with plastic wrap and let mixture sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes, until mixture has doubled in size.

Second Addition:

  • Transfer mixture to a stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment.  Add yolks, egg, flour and sugar.  Mix to combine.  Once new ingredients have been incorporated evenly, cover bowl with plastic wrap.  Let sit at room temperature for another 30 minutes and allow dough to double in volume.

Third Addition:

  • Remove plastic wrap from bowl.  Add yolks, egg, softened butter, flour, and sugar.  Knead/mix to combine.  Continue to mix until dough is soft and ingredients have been throughly incorporated.  The dough will be sticky.
  • Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead into a ball. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough proof and rest for another 30 minutes until it has doubled in size.
  • At this point, you can slow down the proofing process by storing the dough in the fridge overnight. Let dough come to room temperature before moving to the next step.
  • After dough has doubled, remove plastic wrap and punch dough down. Using a kitchen scale, divide the dough into 24 equal parts, weighing 65 grams each.

Assembly and Baking:

  • In a bowl, cream together 1 1/3 cup butter and 1 1 /3 sugar.  Set aside and reserve for filling and topping ensaimada rolls.
  • Place divided dough on a lightly floured work surface. Lightly cover the dough with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel to prevent dough from drying out.
  • Working with one portion at a time, use a small rolling pin to flatten and stretch dough into a 6-inch square. Lightly flour work surface as necessary.
  • Spread about 1/2 tablespoon of creamed sugar butter over surface of dough. Sprinkle a little grated cheese on top.
  • Starting with the edge of the dough closest to you, roll dough into a log. Using both palms, gently roll and stretch log to about 10 inches long. Roll right hand upward while you roll left hand downward to twist the log of dough.
  • Shape twisted log into a snail-like coil. Pinch the end of the coil into the bottom of the roll. If using jumbo muffin tin, place coil in lightly buttered mold. Otherwise, place coil on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Continue and repeat with remaining portions of dough. Once all the dough has been shaped, cover dough with plastic wrap and let sit for 45 minutes until dough has risen.
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Bake ensaimada rolls for 20-25 minutes. Rotate pans halfway through baking. When rotating pans, spread a little bit of creamed butter mixture over rolls. Bake until the tops of the bread are lightly golden brown or until the internal temperature of dough is at least 185 degrees F. Let cool in pan for a couple minutes. Then transfer to a wire rack.
  • Once rolls have cooled to room temperature, take remaining creamed sugar butter mixture and grated Edam cheese. Spread creamed butter over the tops of the bread, sprinkle cheese over butter.
  • Before serving, warm up ensaimadas in the microwave for about 20 seconds to melt the cheese and fluff up the bread. *When reheating bread in the microwave, keep a mug of water in the microwave to keep bread moist and prevent bread from becoming gummy.


Reheating: When warming up bread in the microwave, make sure to keep a mug filled halfway with water in the microwave.  This keeps the bread moist and prevent the bread from becoming gummy or stale.  The water helps to steam the bread.